10 must-see attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), also called Saigon as its former name, has a lot of famous tourist places to visit. Vietnamdrive selects the 10 best attractions that enrich your holidays in this city as well as Vietnam. 

Now let’s go to check them…

1. The Independence Palace

Independence Palace
The Independence Palace | © GreenMarketing/pixabay

The Independence Palace or Dinh Doc Lap is one of the important historical buildings in the history of Vietnam. 

During wartime, this place is the main office of the South Vietnam Government. But, after the reunification day, the palace has become the typical relics of the country.

The building is designed with the oriental culture and feng shui and combined with the modern style, creating airy and nice looking.

Visiting the palace, you can see a lot of relics of the old government, and the time of vital day on 30th April 1975 (the reunification day of Vietnam).

Every day, many visitors come to learn the history and to remember the sacrifices of the people in South Vietnam.

  • Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1, HCMC, and 106 Nguyen Du, District 1, HCMC
  • Opening hours: 8:00am – 16:00 pm
  • Ticket price: 40,000VND or 65,000VND per adult, 20,000VND or 45,000VND for student, 10,000 – 15,000VND for child.
  • Phone: 080. 85037 – 028.38223652 

2. Saigon Norte Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon | © Vietnamdrive

The Norte Dame Cathedral locates in the central part of Ho Chi Minh. This site is the top destination in Saigon.

The cathedral combines European architecture of Roman and Gothic styles with the biggest bell in Vietnam. It becomes one of the beautiful buildings in Ho Chi Minh City.

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral takes essential roles in the religious life of the local people. When coming to this site, visitors can enjoy a large campus around the church. In particular, the park 30/4 is an entertainment place in Saigon at night that is very famous for young people.

Here are more details and stories of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.

  • Address: 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Opening hours: Morning 8:30 – 10:00, afternoon 14:30 – 15:30 (Monday – Friday)
  • Fee: free
  • Mass time: Morning 5:30, 17:00 pm (Monday – Saturday), Sunday: 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30 (for foreigners), 16:00, 17:00, 18:30.

3. Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office | © Dung/flickr

Saigon Central Post Office at 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, HCMC (near the Norte Dame Cathedral) is one of the most typical architectural work in Ho Chi Minh City.

The post office was built from 1886 – 189, based on the design of Gustave Eiffel – a famous French architect with his assistant Foulhoux.

When coming here, most visitors are interesting to explore a harmonious combination between Gothic, Renaissance and French architecture create. Both the exterior and the interior of the building are designed and decorated with very artistic motifs.

So, if you have a chance, you should come to the central post office of the city to admire its unique architecture, and to immerse yourself in the ancient world of the post boxes to phone booths. And you can comfortably rest on polished benches that are hundreds of years old.

  • Address: 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Opening time: 7:00am – 19:00 (Mon – Fri), 8:00am – 18:00 (Sat-Sun)
  • Phone: 028 3822 1677
  • Entrance fee: free

4. Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh
Cu Chi Tunnels | ©Dave & Lorelle/flickr

When visiting Cu Chi Tunnels, tourists are surprised by the typical system under the ground.

The tunnels have a lot of underpasses like a spider net with different levels, including living areas, kitchens, meeting rooms… The total length gets up to 200km. This site is a skillful underground architecture.

You can experience the hard life when entering the tiny tunnels. This purpose may contribute to our thinking to love more the peaceful feeling.

Cu Chi Tunnels have two areas opened for visiting:

  • Ben Dinh Tunnels: are at Ben Dinh Hamlet, Nhuan Duc Commune, Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Ben Duoc Tunnels: now belong to Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Commune, Cu Chi District, HCMC
  • Opening time: 9:00am – 17:00 daily
  • Entrance fee: 110,000VND/guest at Ben Dinh, 90,000VND/guest at Ben Duoc

5. Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market Saigon
Ben Thanh Market | ©Riza Nugraha/flickr

Ben Thanh Market situates in the heart of the city, its 4 doors facing the main roads of Phan Chu Trinh, Phan Boi Chau and Le Thanh Ton, and Quach Thi Trang Square. If you are interested in going shopping, please add this market to your list to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Thanh Market is one of the important markets in Saigon for daily trading, and also the ideal place to enjoy traditional Vietnamese food. It is interesting to stop at food stalls with local specialties like spring rolls, or Pho noodle soup, you can taste its great flavor to know more the cuisine in Saigon.

Also, you can find traditional and modern items as gifts for family and friends in the market. Many people consider this place a rich market because the price of products is often higher than in other areas. So, one note is that when shopping here, you should bargain to get the best price.

Typically, at night, around Ben Thanh market becomes more bustling with clothing stores, busy restaurants. Spend time at Ben Thanh Street Food Market is captivating to have a lot of chances to taste the local flavor.

  • Address: The intersection of Phan Boi Chau – Le Thanh Ton – Phan Chu Trinh – Quach Thi Trang Square, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, HCMC.
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
  • Entrance fee: free

6. War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum Saigon
War Remnants Museum | @snowm.energy

War Remnants Museum is located at 28 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 6, where the war relics have been exhibited during the terrible time in Vietnam for 21 years, from 1954 to 1975.

The War Remnants Museum is one of the places that attract a lot of domestic and foreign tourists. This is a famous destination in Ho Chi Minh that many people consider a must-see site to learn about the history of this city.

The museum has reached the top of the most beautiful museum in the world published by a famous travel website. Visitors here can feel deeply about the Vietnam War and its effects.

Visitors learn the story of the terrible war, including the pains and loss of the Vietnamese, but knowing the intense spirit of the Vietnamese people. So, we will love more the peaceful time of life.

See more about War Remnants Museum here.

  • Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC
  • Opening hours: 7:30am – 16:30  
  • Phone: (0084) 2839302112
  • Entance fee: 40,000VND/ticket

7. Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater)

Saigon Opera House
Saigon Opera House | © hanhnguyet/flickr

Saigon Opera House is an old-style theater in Western European architecture, and a well-known tourist destination of Ho Chi Minh City.

Located on Dong Khoi Street and Cong Truong Lam Son Street, at the end of Le Loi Street, next to two large 5-star hotels in Saigon – Caravelle and Continental. The theater is considered the most typical and expensive cultural building during the French colonial in Saigon.

At present, Ho Chi Minh City Theater is the main place for professional performances such as music shows, ballet, traditional music, and opera for all art groups in the nation and from other countries.

Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater was opened in 1900. Then, although the theater was renovated in 1998, it was preserved the original architectural style, with some beautiful decorations and sculptures on the façade such as the statue of art goddess, the festoon…

At night, people in Saigon often gather on the steps in front of the theater, watch the busy people moving up and down on the road, or taste a cup of milk tea behind the theater.

  • Address: 07 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Opening hours: all day for visiting in front to take a picture
  • Entrance fee and show schedule: depend on each performance and when they organize the shows, you check this www.hbso.org.vn to find if they have shown.

8. Tan Dinh Church

Tan Dinh Church HCM
Tan Dinh Church | @tonych_inc

Tan Dinh church is located on Hai Ba Trung street. Every day, many tourists come here to visit and take pictures for memories.

Thanks to the striking color, the church is very attractive when going on the road. It’s because of its lovely pink appearance, plenty of young people like to come here to keep their time in the beautiful photos.

At the same time, this church has been built for a long time, but it was only when it became pink that it became a Hot Destination for everyone.

From the front, visitors can see the main tower and the two auxiliary ones. At the top of the tower is an octagonal spire with a 3 m high copper cross. In the tower there are 5 bells, weighing a total of 5.5 tons. The two side towers have light columns with many ventilation holes and patterns to create a solid, very charming.

Actually, the church is very small, and tourists can visit the front part, the back is a private area. Thus, you spend max 30 minutes at this site, that is enough. If you like to get some nice photos to remember your time in Ho Chi Minh, that is good to come here.

  • Mass Times: Every day: 5:00; 6:15; 19:00, and Sunday: 5:00; 6:15; 7:30; 9:00; 16:00; 17:30; 19:00.
  • Address: 289 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 8, District 3, HCMC

9. Jade Emperor Pagoda

Jade Emperor Pagoda
Jade Emperor Pagoda | @anhthao_2011

Jade Emperor Pagoda, also known as Phuoc Hai Tu or Ngoc Hoang Pagoda, worships the Heaven Emperor. A Chinese person who lived in the city had it built from 1892 through 1900 to wish for good business and peaceful life.

The Ngoc Hoang pagoda has the walls of bricks and is covered with yin and yang tile roofs, decorated at the roof corners with many ceramic statues. In the temple, there are many works of art: worship paintings, statues… with different materials: wood, pottery, papier-mache.

In particular, the temple attracts thousands of visitors to offer incense on the 1st and 15th of the first lunar month to wish a peaceful life and having a new baby easier.

With the old features and holy belief, Jade Emperor Pagoda has a large number of visitors coming to visit and pray every day.

And, this temple was a destination of the American President Brack Obama to visit in 1916.

  • Address: 73 Le Thi Luu Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
  • Opening hour: 7:00am – 17:00
  • Phone: 028 3820 3102
  • Entrance fee: free

10. FITO Museum

fito museum
© FiTo Museum

FITO Museum or Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is nestled on a corner of Hoang Du Khuong Street, District 10. Fito is the first private traditional medicine museum in Vietnam.

With the passion and collection process of many years of Le Khac Tam, a person working in the pharmaceutical industry, he developed the museum to preserve valuable assets, honor the traditional medicine of Vietnam. Besides, Fito Museum also helps people be able to visit, learn, and research the history of traditional Vietnamese medicine.

The museum has opened since 2007 with a scale of 6 floors and 18 rooms on a total area of ​​nearly 600 m2. 

FITO Museum has more than 3,000 precious artifacts related to Vietnamese traditional medicine from the Stone Age to the present. Some artifacts have a date of 2,500 years old. 

After a visit to the relics at FiTo, you can participate in the preparation of medicine, tasting traditional medicine, and using treatment services here.

  • Address: 42 Hoa Du Khuong Street, Ward 12, District 10, HCMC.
  • Opening hours: 8:30 am – 17:00
  • Phone: 028 3864 2430
  • Entrance fee: 50,000VND/ticket

In conclusion, with the hope to support you to have an interesting time in Ho Chi Minh City, the top Saigon attractions may be useful information that can contribute to planning your itinerary to visit Vietnam.

Depends on your time and own hobby, you can select some of these well-known places to visit. You can see we selects many places and put them in a one-day trip in Ho Chi Minh here.

From our recommendation, going inside the Cu Chi Tunnels and taking pictures at the Saigon Central Post Office (also the Saigon Norte Dame Cathedral) is the top choice in the list.

How about you? Which places would you like to explore in Ho Chi Minh City?

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.